John 1:6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John: egeneto (3SAMI) anthropos, apestalmenos (MSNRPP) para theou, onoma auto Ioannes. (NASB: Lockman)
a man: John 1:33 Jn 3:28 Isa 40:3-5 Mal 3:1 Mal 4:5,6 Mt 3:1-11 Mt 11:10 Mt 21:25 Mk 1:1-8 Lu 1:15-17,76 Lk 3:2-20 Acts 13:24
John: Lu 1:13,61-63
OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
Barclay - There emerged a man sent from God whose name was John.
Hendricksen - There came a man named John, commissioned by God.
John Phillips Outline
I. The Divine Light in Evidence (Jn 1:6-13)
After God spoke His last Old Testament message through Malachi, He was silent for 400 years, but before He went silent, He gave a promise to send two messengers "Behold, I am going to send My messenger (John the Baptist), and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the Messenger of the covenant (Jesus Christ), in Whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1-note)
Notice that John 1:1-5 speak about Jesus. Then abruptly John 1:6-8 introduce "John the Witness.' And then John 1:9ff pick up John's discussion of Jesus.
John Piper raises the question of why John abruptly introduces "John the Witness" at this juncture instead of completing his introduction of the Word of God. Piper reasons that "the effect of the way he did write it is to make crystal clear from the very outset that God's way of letting the light of Christ shine in the world is by human witnesses. God's way of pushing back the darkness is by human witnesses. It didn't have to be this way. God could have caused the light of Christ to spread in some other way. He could have done it with angels. He could have written the gospel in the sky with big puffy white letters made out of clouds. He could have caused the wind to talk. But instead God chose to call and send human beings to bear witness to the light. "There was a man [a human being] sent from God, whose name was John. This general principle is even more clear because John was sent to testify to the light while the light was there. As soon as the light was in the world—as soon as Jesus came—God prepared and sent a human being right alongside the light to bear witness to the light. Jesus did not need John the Baptist to make him known. He could have managed by himself—he was the light of the world. But evidently God's wisdom dictates that his Son should be heralded, announced, proclaimed by people that he sends. Evidently God knows that this is the way to bring the greatest happiness to men and the greatest glory to his Son… Be ready and open to God's call on your life to send you to bear witness to the light; and be ready and open to recognize the word of God to you when it comes from others that God has sent to you. (A Burning Witness to the Light)
Hendricksen writes that John the Witness "is introduced as an example of the constant shining of the light… John, whose name means “Jehovah has been gracious,” had been sent (perfect passive participle, indicating abiding result; from apostello) from—or commissioned by—God. The purpose for which he had been commissioned is stated in Jn 1:7-8"
D A Carson - A fuller description of the Baptist’s witness appears in Jn 1:19–34; Jn 3:27–30; Jn 5:35, with a marvelous summary in Jn 10:40–42. (The Gospel according to John The Pillar New Testament Commentary)
Spurgeon - How grand, how sublime, are the Evangelist’s words when he speaks of Jesus! How truly human he becomes, how he dips his pen in ordinary ink, when he writes: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” Yet that was a noble testimony to the herald of Christ. John the Baptist was “a man sent from God.”
There came a man (There became) - A man, not the Man Christ Jesus. As a man, he is the first human being described in John's prologue. In short, the evangelist describes the historical appearance of John the Baptist (Witness), who was the last OT prophet in the sense of his message and his perspective. While the synoptic writers refer to him as the Baptist (Mt 3:1; 11:11f; 14:2, 8; 16:14; 17:13; Mk 1:4; 6:14, 24f; 8:28; Lk 7:20, 33; 9:19), John never calls his the Baptist. However he does describe his baptizing work (Jn 1:25-33, John 3:23) so there is no doubt that this man is John the Baptizer of the synoptic gospels. In the synoptic gospels we see who John is, but the fourth Gospel we see why he is -- his purpose is not primarily to baptize but to serve as a witness of Jesus Christ! And that is every believer's primary purpose for existence! To tell those lost in darkness about the Light of the World!
John was "sent from God" and was an evangelist. An evangelist (Greek = euaggelistes, one who announces good news) is a person authorized to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. God set in the church evangelists (Eph 4:11-12-note). Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist (1Ti 4:11). God still works through men to evangelize men! Beloved, you may not have the title "Evangelist so and so" but you can mark it down that you are God's man or woman on the scene of your job, your school, your community. In short you are God's evangelist wherever you are and are empowered with the dynamic Gospel (Ro 1:16-note) and the Spirit enabled boldness to speak the message of Jesus to others (cp Paul's prayer Eph 6:19-20-What is repeated? See commentary). Are you availing yourself of your "once in a lifetime" privilege of proclaiming the Gospel to those in your sphere of influence, those who are dead in their trespasses and sins and are destined for eternal separation from God (2Th 1:9)? Remember, you have access to individuals that no pastor will ever see in their service, so don't miss your opportunity!
Note the contrast between John and Jesus - John came, the Word was. John was a man, the Word was God. John was sent from God, the Word was with God.
The apostle John presents the greatest man born of women (Mt 11:11, Lk 7:28) and contrasts him with Christ (See chart below). John himself highlights the striking contrast declaring "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me." (Jn 1:15), "He Who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie." (Jn 1:26), "After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me." (Jn 1:30) and "He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals." (Mt 3:11) In fact John's conclusion was "He must increase, but I must decrease." (Jn 3:30)
William Hendriksen contrasts John the Witness and Jesus the One about Whom John witnesses…
In a word, no human compares with Jesus.
Westcott on there came (egeneto) - Each of the three words in the original which describe the advent of John is expressive. His “becoming” is contrasted with the “being” of the Word (Jn 1:9). He is spoken of as “a man” with a significant reference to the mystery realised in ("the Man" Jesus - Jn 1:14. And at the same time he was charged with a divine mission (Ed: sent = apostello = speaks of one sent on a mission with a commission [power and authority of the sender]). (The Gospel according to St John)
Bob Utley - It is interesting to note that Christ is described in IMPERFECT TENSE (pre-existence) verbs, while John is described in AORIST (manifested in time - "there came" is aorist tense) and PERFECT TENSE (a historical event with lasting results) verbs (cf. apostello in perfect tense in Jn 1:6). Jesus has always existed. (John 1 Commentary)
Steven Cole sees this next section (Jn 1:6-13) as analogous to the beginning of a courtroom drama or trial - "He has already (Jn 1:1-5) given us a description of Jesus Christ as the eternal Word, the second Member of the Trinity, and the Creator of all that is. He has said that in Jesus is life and that life was the light of men. But even though that Light shines in the darkness, the darkness did not comprehend (or overpower) it (Jn 1:5). This implies the conflict between light and darkness that unfolds in this drama. In John 1-4, there is initially belief in Jesus, but in John 5-12, there is subsequent unbelief, leading up to His mock trial and crucifixion. In our text, John introduces the witness of John the Baptist to Jesus (Jn 1:6-8) and the witness of Jesus Himself, “the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (Jn 1:9). There is more than adequate testimony in Jesus’ favor. But what will the jury decide? While as I said, this plays out throughout the entire story, John shows here that many who should have decided favorably sadly rejected the witness to Jesus Christ, whereas others welcomed the witness by receiving and believing in Him. But John isn’t just reporting a courtroom drama for your entertainment. He wants to draw you into the story and elicit your personal verdict on the witness to Jesus Christ: Our text falls into two parts: In 1:6-9, John shows that God has given adequate witness to His Son. In 1:10-13, he shows that this witness to God’s Son demands a verdict of faith in Him. But in spite of the solid evidence, that verdict isn’t guaranteed. Many of those who should have decided in favor of Jesus did not know Him or receive Him. But those who did are born of God and become His children. (John 1:6-13 God’s Witness, Your Verdict)
It is fascinating to recall Jesus' own evaluation of John the Baptist declaring ""Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Mt 11:11) Luke records "he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb." (Lk 1:15) No other person has ever been described as full of the Spirit while still in utero! This man was great! Now ponder Jesus' sterling affirmation of John for a moment. He is saying that John was greater than Noah, Job, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, or any other of the ancient men of God.
Bennema agrees that the Baptizer's role is primarily that of a witness of Jesus but that his "characterization as a witness is complex and multifaceted—his single trait is not a simple trait. This becomes evident when we examine his other roles as a baptizer, herald-forerunner, teacher, best man, and a “lamp.” (Ed: Bennema has a lengthy discussion of each of these facets of John the Baptist) Most scholars do not adequately explain how John’s other roles relate to his principal role. In fact, I will argue that it is misleading to speak of primary and secondary, major and minor roles. John never operates as a witness apart from his other roles; rather, he is a witness in these roles." (The Character of John in the Fourth Gospel - JETS 52/2, 6/2009, 271-284)
Dods - The testimony of John is introduced not only as a historical note but in order to bring out the aggravated blindness of those who rejected Christ.
John is an excellent example for us to imitate as witnesses of Jesus Christ. Using these passages that describe John the Baptist, Pastor Steve Kreloff gives us some basic principles for being a witness - (1) John was a man and God uses men and women. God uses people! Evangelism works best with people… There is no substitute for a person, for the Gospel must be seen in a life for it to be believable to others. People need to see changes in our lives. We are the letter people will read. The change in us and the life of Christ in us demonstrates the validity of the Gospel… This is not too deep but it is important to understand… God always uses people… You may think you don't have the gift of evangelism (etc)… all that it requires is that you have a voice. If you have voice you can be a witness. (See Jn 1:22-23 "I am a Voice… ")… So just be a "voice!" (2) A voice has to speak of Christ - "He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the Light." (Jn 1:7) A witness simply takes the witness stand and says what he knows to be true… Some people think that "I will just witness with my life." That is not enough. That's part of it… If you never open your mouth and share the Gospel with people, but you think "They're just going to see my life and they will conclude that God has changed me and they need salvation." No, you know what they will conclude if you never them Who changed you, they'll conclude that you're just a good person… honest… caring… You need to tell them that Christ has changed you and He can change them… You have to open your mouth and speak the truth… So we are witness of the Light. We are to tell people what we know about Christ… You don't have to be an expert… Some Christians are so fearful because they don't know the answers to the tough questions… There is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know the answer, but I will look it up."… Stop worrying about defending the faith and make certain you are explaining the Gospel… Tell them what you do know and don't worry about what you don't know. (3) John's witness is of Jesus Christ (the Light, Jn 1:7) Our witness should always cause people to look away from us and towards the Lord… Much of what is called evangelism today is self-centered. It's "me." It's bearing witness to ourselves… to our experience… all the changes… John made it clear that he did not want to talk about himself… make much of Jesus Christ, not yourself… He must increase. I must decrease… Of course there is a place for our personal testimony, but use it to make a place to present the Gospel… We need to realize who we are. In John 1:8 John realized "he was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light." John understood who he was (Ed: and for what purpose he had been sent)… Turn to John 5:35 where Jesus speaking of John the Baptist says "He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light." So here Jesus called John a burning and shining light and yet in John 1:8 we read "He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light." Is this a contradiction? Not at all. It only serves to clarify what God's Word teaches about witnessing. There are two Greek words for "light"-- in chapter 1 the word (phos) means the essence of light, not the rays coming from the light. John was not the essence of light. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the essence of light. He is the Light of the world (Jn 8:12). But in Jn 5:35 the word "light" describes a portable lamp (Gk - luchnos) which has no light in and of itself. John the Baptist had no light of his own. He was a "portable lamp" who was lit by Jesus Christ. In other words, he was not the Light, but he reflected the Light of Christ… And that's what being a witness is… We too have received light (when we were saved) and our role is to tell other darkened souls about the Light that is powerful enough to dispel their darkness also. Evangelism is nothing more than one shining lamp telling a darkened lamp where it can get eternal light (life)!… Be as simplistic as John was… Make sure that you are talking about Christ. Make sure you tell them Who He is, what He has done for you and how they can receive Him. Don't worry about being eloquent… Just be faithful to the message and exalt the Lord. (John 1 Sermons - sermon #7449)
William Simmons on John the Baptist - Apart from Jesus Christ, John the Baptist is probably the most theologically significant figure in the Gospels. As was the case with Jesus, his birth was meticulously recorded (Luke 1:5-25 ). His entrance into the world was marked by angelic proclamation and divine intervention (Luke 1:57-80 ). John's birth not only parallels that of Jesus, but echoes the momentous occasion of the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17:15-22; 21:1-7 ). John is clearly a pivotal figure in the salvation history of God. Although his formative years were lived in obscurity in the desert (Luke 1:80 ), his public ministry ended nearly four hundred years of prophetic silence. John was that voice crying in the wilderness preparing the way for the coming Messiah (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:2-3; Luke 3:3-6 ). In this sense his message and ministry marked the culmination of the law and the prophets, but heralded the in breaking of the kingdom of God (Matthew 11:12; Luke 16:16 ). So John was truly a transitional figure, forming the link between the Old and New Testaments. He spans the ages with one foot firmly planted in the Old Testament and the other squarely placed in the New. The central theme of his ministry was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matthew 3:2 ). He was called "The Baptist" because his practice was to baptize those who responded to the message he proclaimed and sincerely repented of their sins (Matthew 3:1; Mark 6:14; Luke 7:20). John was an end-times prophet. He conducted his ministry with an eschatological authority that demanded immediate action. He taught that judgment is at hand. The axe is laid to the roots and God will thoroughly purge his threshing floor (Matthew 3:10-12; Luke 3:9,17 ). And the authenticity of repentance was evidenced in very practical terms: share with those in need, eliminate graft, and prohibit extortion (Luke 3:11-14). John's lifestyle was as austere as his message. He was an ascetic living in the wilderness, clothed in camel hair and subsisting on locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6). Unlike Jesus, he expected people to come to him, rather than he going to them (Matthew 3:5). John was no "crowd pleaser." He willingly confronted the hypocrisy of the religious establishment (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7). He did not hesitate to expose the immorality of Herod and chose to die a martyr's death rather than compromise his convictions (Matthew 14:3-12; Mark 6:17-29). All of these characteristics portray John as a fiery prophet proclaiming the apocalyptic message of God. Indeed, Luke says that John came "in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17). He goes on to allude to Malachi 4:5 , which states that Elijah will return "before that great and dreadful day of the Lord." In fact, some contemporaries of John inquired if he were Elijah (John 1:21).(John the Baptist - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
Related Resources on John the Baptist:
A MAN SENT
Sent from God - This is a clear indication that John comes on the scene backed by the power and authority of God. Notice that sent (apostello) is in the perfect tense which speaks of permanence. Leon Morris adds that the perfect tense "indicates the permanent character of his mission. He continues in the character of a man sent."
John the Baptist himself testifies of his having been sent from God - “And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent (verb pempo) me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ (Jn 1:33).“You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent (apostello in the perfect tense) before Him.’ (Jn 3:28).
POSB - Jesus the Light of the World: The Special Witness of John the Baptist, John 1:6-8
(John 1:6-8) Introduction: there was one person who was a very special witness to Christ, John the Baptist. John's sole purpose on earth was to witness and to bear testimony to the Light of the world. His purpose stands as a dynamic example for every believer. The purpose of the believer is to bear the same witness as John: Jesus Christ is the Light of the world.
(Jn 1:6) John the Baptist— Commission: a man sent from God. Note three points.
1. The man "was a man" and only a man. A strong contrast is being made between what had been said about Christ and what is now being said about John.
2. The man, however, was "sent from God"; and he was sent on a very special mission. Two facts show this.
3. The man was named John. His name means gracious. He was a man sent forth with a name to match his message: God's grace is now to enter upon the scene of world history. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, the embodiment of God's glorious grace. (full of grace and truth… grace upon grace" Jn 1:14, 16) (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible-KJV-John) (POSB - WORDsearch)
Westcott on sent from God - from (para) and not simply by God (comp. Jn 15:26). (Ibid)
Kostenberger adds that "The phrase “sent from God” is reminiscent of the OT description of a prophet whose role was to function as a spokesperson for God (e.g., 2Chr 24:19; 25:15; Jer. 7:25; 25:4; 28:9; 35:15; 44:4; Ezek 2:3). The Jewish crowds thought of John as a prophet (Matt. 21:26 pars.), and that is how Jesus referred to him as well (Mt. 11:9 = Lk 7:26).
In at least 3 Old Testament prophecies we see where God promises to send John the Baptist before He sends His Son:
Sent (649)(apostello from apo = from, away from + stello = to withdraw from, avoid) means to send off, to send forth, to send out. To send out; to commission as a representative, an ambassador, an envoy. The idea is to send forth from one place to another. But the meaning of apostello is more than just to send because it means "to send off on a commission to do something as one’s personal representative, with credentials furnished" (Wuest) To send upon some business (Mt. 2:16; 10:5; 20:2). To send away in the sense of to dismiss (Mk 12:3, 4). To send or thrust forth as a sickle among corn (Mk 4:29).
Three things are true of the person sent from God.
See related study on apostolos = apostle
Apostello repeatedly speaks of the Father sending the Son on mission. Indeed the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to "consider Jesus the Apostle (apostolos) and High Priest of our confession" (Heb 3:1-note), so here are just a few of over 30 passages (see complete list below)
The rabbis used the term apostello to refer to one called and sent as an official representative of another (something like our English "Ambassador" - 2Cor 5:20-note). Apostello was used by the Greeks for the personal representatives of the king, ambassadors who functioned with the king’s authority. To make light of the king’s envoys was to be in danger of insubordination.
John Phillips notes that the root verb stello was used for the furling of a sail. It suggest shrinking back.
Apostello means to commission to special task and empowered with the authority of the sender, a perfect description of John the Baptist. Webster defines commission as an authorization or command to act in a prescribed manner or to perform prescribed acts. In Acts 26:17,when Christ commissioned Saul He said "ego apostello," which literally could be read “I apostle you.” Saul was “called out of the world to be sent to the world.” The call confers on him a missionary commission to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles (Gal. 1:16; 2:7; Ro 11:13; 2Cor. 10:13-16; Eph 3:1-2), which determines both the direction of his ministry, from Jerusalem to Illyricum to Rome to Spain (Rom. 15:19, 24), and the recipients of his ministry (Gal. 2:8). See related discussion below on Let the Missionary be a Missionary.
Apostello summarized - 1. send someone out, implying for a particular purpose (Mk 1:11; 1Co 1:17); 2. send a message, send word (Ac 28:28, Mt 14:35, Mt 27:19); 3. (apostellō to drepanon), begin to harvest, place the sickle (Mk 4:29) (Ed: literally "send the sickle" = begin to harvest) (Swanson)
In Luke 10:1 we read "Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent (apostello) them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come." As Wiersbe says these 70 "were not called “apostles,” but they were still “sent [apostello] with a commission” to represent the Lord. They were therefore truly ambassadors of the King. Not only were they sent by Him, but they were also sent before Him to prepare the way for His coming. Their calling was certainly a dignified one." (Bible Exposition Commentary)
Jesus uses apostello in the parables to describe servants sent on assignments by their masters (e.g., Mt 20:2; Mk 12:1-6).
G Campbell Morgan - The word apostello, from which the word apostle comes, always marked first a setting apart. Now we are very apt to say that an apostle is one sent, and that is true as it reveals a result. The first meaning of the word, however, is to set apart, and therefore to be sent. That is the word He used here about Himself. It is consonant with His constant reference to His own mission, especially as John records it. There are only four chapters in John's Gospel in which He is not recorded as claiming to have been sent. He was the Sent of God. The verb apostello stands for delegated authority. Pempo never refers to delegated authority. It always stands for dispatch under authority.
The idea of apostello most often is to send forth on a certain mission such as to preach (Mk 3:14; Lk 9:2); speak (Lk 1:19); bless (Acts 3:26); rule, redeem, propitiate (Acts 7:35; 1Jn 4:10); save (1Jn 4:14). Of course the main sending was when God sent Jesus (Jn 3:34) on a "rescue mission" with the authority of the Father to fulfill the mission of provision of redemption.
In Luke 4:18 Jesus reading from Isaiah 61:1 declared “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN." Here the purpose of apostello is the proclamation of liberty or freedom (from bondage to sin, Satan, fear of death).
In Acts 28:28 apostello speaks of the gift of "salvation of God (that) has been sent to the Gentiles." (cf Ps 111:9 = "He has sent (Lxx = apostello) redemption (lutrosis) to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name.
In Acts 10:36 God sends His Word through proclamation of the Word about "the Word" (Jn 1:1) = “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)." (cf sending His Word in Lxx of Ps 107:20, cp Ps 147:15 "He sends forth His command to the earth. His word runs very swiftly.", cf similar sending in Ps 147:18)
In Acts 11:30 "the relief of the brethren living in Judea" (Acts 11:29) was sent "in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders."
Apostello versus pempo - Pémpō bears a significant relationship to apostéllō (649), to send. In secular Gr. there was usually a distinction between pémpō and apostéllō. The comp. verb apostéllō means to send away, referring to both persons and things. Delegation for a particular purpose is involved, and the cause for sending is often particularly stressed. This is the verb from which the word apóstolos (652), apostle, is derived. Pémpō was more common in secular Gr.; it merely stresses the fact of sending. In the NT, apostéllō occurs as a technical term denoting divine authorization… This word is to be distinguished from pémpō (3992), to send, a more general term than apostéllō. The two terms, however, are used interchangeably and yet the distinction is discernible in passages such as John 5:23, 24, 30, 37 where the word used is pémpō (cf. with John 5:33, 36, 38 where the word apostéllō is used). Pémpō was more common in secular Gr.; it merely stresses the fact of sending… Pémpō occurs as a virtual synonym (of apostello)., more often in John (32 times), but also in the Gospel of Luke and Acts (10 or 11 times). John uses the two words side by side in John 20:21 where apostéllō may be said to mean to send with delegated authority. Pémpō, however, means merely to send, the authority being retained by Jesus Christ and derived from the believer’s attachment to Christ… Pémpō is not used in the Lord’s high priestly prayer in John 17, while apostéllō is used six times (Jn 17:3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25). Here He identifies Himself as the one whom God has sent, the sent one. The purpose and mission of His coming had been set prior to His incarnation (John 16:28). Therefore, pémpō is a general term, but apostéllō suggests official or authoritative sending. (Complete Word Study Dictionary-Spiros Zodhiates-)
Apostello - 132x in 130v - NAS Usage: puts(1), send(17), send forth(3), sending(3), sends(1), sent(104), sent… away(1), set(1). --
Click here to see the full passages below - you might take about 10-15 minutes to go through each verse -- you will glean a keener sense of the meaning of apostello, especially as you see repeated allusions of the Father sending the Son -- How great is the Father's love for us who are so undeserving! - Matt 2:16; 8:31; 10:5, 16, 40; 11:10; 13:41; 14:35; 15:24; 20:2; 21:1, 3, 34, 36f; 22:3f, 16; 23:34, 37; 24:31; 27:19; Mark 1:2; 3:14, 31; 4:29; 5:10; 6:7, 17, 27; 8:26; 9:37; 11:1, 3; 12:2ff, 13; 13:27; 14:13; Luke 1:19, 26; 4:18, 43; 7:3, 20, 27; 9:2, 48, 52; 10:1, 3, 16; 11:49; 13:34; 14:17, 32; 19:14, 29, 32; 20:10, 20; 22:8, 35; 24:49; John 1:6, 19, 24; 3:17, 28, 34; 4:38; 5:33, 36, 38; 6:29, 57; 7:29, 32; 8:42; 9:7; 10:36; 11:3, 42; 17:3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25; 18:24; 20:21; Acts 3:20, 26; 5:21; 7:14, 34f; 8:14; 9:17, 38; 10:8, 17, 20, 36; 11:11, 13, 30; 13:15; 15:27, 33; 16:35f; 19:22; 26:17; 28:28; Rom 10:15; 1 Cor 1:17; 2 Cor 12:17; 2 Tim 4:12; Heb 1:14; 1 Pet 1:12; 1 John 4:9f, 14; Rev 1:1; 5:6; 22:6
In Mark 6:7 Jesus sent (from apostéllō; cf. 3:14; 6:30) the Twelve out two by two, a common practice in that day for practical and legal reasons (cf. Mark 11:1; 14:13; John 8:17; Deut. 17:6; 19:15).
Apostello - about 493v in the Septuagint - Ge 8:7-8; 19:13; 20:2; 21:14; 24:7, 40; Ge 26:27; 27:45; 28:5; 30:25; 31:4; 32:3, 5, 18, 26; 37:13-14, 32; 38:17, 20, 23, 25; 41:8, 14; 42:4, 16; 43:4-5, 8, 14; 44:3; 45:5, 7f, 23, 27; 46:5, 28; Ex 2:5; 3:10, 13ff; 4:13, 28; 5:22; 7:16; 8:28; 9:15, 27; 10:10; 15:7, 10; 23:20, 27f; Lev 16:10; 25:21; 26:22; Nu 13:2, 16f, 27; 14:36; 16:12, 28f; 20:14, 16; 21:6, 21, 32; 22:5, 10, 15, 37, 40; 24:12; 31:4, 6; 32:8; Dt 1:22; 2:26; 7:20; 19:12; 22:7; 28:8; 29:22; 32:24; 34:11; Josh 1:16; 2:1, 3; 6:25; 7:2, 22; 8:3, 9; 10:3, 6; 11:1; 14:7, 11; 22:13; 23:5; 24:9, 28; Jdg 4:6; 5:15; 6:35; 7:24; 9:31; 11:12, 14, 17, 19, 28, 38; 13:8; 16:18; 18:2; 19:29; 20:6, 12; 21:10, 13; 1Sa 4:4; 5:8; 6:2, 21; 9:16; 11:3, 7; 12:8, 11; 15:1, 18, 20; 16:1, 11f, 19, 22; 19:11, 14f, 20f; 20:12, 21, 31; 21:2; 22:11; 25:5, 14, 25, 32, 39f; 26:4; 30:26; 31:9; 2Sa 2:5; 3:12, 15, 21ff, 26; 5:11; 8:10; 9:5; 10:2f, 5ff, 16; 11:1, 3ff, 14, 18, 27; 12:1, 25, 27; 13:7, 27; 14:2, 29, 32; 15:10, 12, 36; 17:16; 18:2, 29; 19:11, 14; 22:15, 17; 24:13; 1Kgs 1:44, 53; 2:29, 42; 5:1f, 8f, 14; 7:13; 9:27; 12:18, 20, 24; 15:20; 18:10, 19f; 19:2; 20:2, 5ff, 9, 17; 21:8, 11, 14; 2Kgs 1:2, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16; 2:2, 4, 6, 16f; 4:22; 5:6ff, 10, 22; 6:9f, 13f, 23, 32; 7:13f; 8:9; 9:17, 19; 10:1, 5, 7, 21; 11:4; 12:18; 14:8f, 19; 16:7f, 10f; 17:4, 13, 25f; 18:14, 17, 27; 19:2, 4, 9, 16, 20; 20:12; 22:3, 15, 18; 23:1, 16; 24:2; 1Chr 8:8; 10:9; 13:2; 14:1; 18:10; 19:2ff, 8, 16; 21:12, 15; 2Chr 2:3, 7f, 11, 13, 15; 6:34; 7:10, 13; 8:18; 10:3, 18; 16:2ff; 17:7; 24:19, 23; 25:15, 17f, 27; 28:16; 30:1; 32:9, 21, 31; 34:8, 23, 26, 29; 35:21; 36:5, 10, 15; Ezra 4:11, 17f; 5:5ff; 6:13; 7:14; 8:16; Neh 2:6, 9; 6:2ff, 8, 12, 19; 8:10, 12; Esther 1:22; 3:13; 4:4f; 8:5, 12; 9:19; Job 1:5, 11; 2:5; 5:10; 8:4; 38:35; 40:11; Ps 59:1; 78:25; 105:17, 20; 107:20; 111:9; 147:15, 18; Pr 9:3; 21:8; 25:13; 26:6, 13; Eccl 11:1; Song 5:4; Isa 6:6, 8; 9:8; 10:6, 16; 14:12; 16:1, 8; 18:2; 19:20; 20:1; 33:7; 36:2, 12; 37:2, 4, 9, 17, 21; 39:1; 43:14; 48:16; 57:9; 58:6; 61:1; Jer 2:10; 7:25; 9:17; 14:3, 14f; 16:16; 19:14; 21:1; 23:21, 32, 38; 24:10; 25:4, 9, 15ff, 27; 26:5, 12, 15; 27:3, 15f; 28:9, 15; 29:1, 3, 9, 25, 28, 31; 34:10, 14; 35:15; 36:14, 21; 37:3, 7, 15, 17; 38:14; 39:14; 40:1, 4, 14; 42:5f, 20f; 43:1f, 10; 44:4; 48:12; 49:14; Lam 1:13; Ezek 7:3; 13:6; 30:11; 39:6; Dan 3:2, 28; 4:1, 13, 23, 25; 5:24; 6:22; 10:11; Hos 5:13; Zech 2:8f; 6:15; Mal 4:5
Green - "In the LXX the verb apostellō is used more than 709 times, and almost always as a translation equivalent for the Hebrew verb šālah (“to send”). Šālah denotes for the most part the idea of being sent with a commission, either by another human agent or by God… In the NT (with the exception of John’s Gospel), it may be said that pempō is used where the simple idea of sending is conveyed, and apostellō when something of a commission is involved. In John’s Gospel, however, the two terms are used interchangeably." (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels).
Here are some uses of apostello in the Septuagint…
"JEHOVAH IS GRACIOUS"
Whose name was John - His name means "Jehovah is gracious" or "God's gracious gift" a most appropriate name for the voice of one who would announce the coming of the greatest Gift ever given by God to sinful mankind, His only Son (Jn 3:16), the One "full of grace and truth" (Jn 1:14) "for of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." (Jn 1:16). John's God glorifying name was not an accident but was sovereignly ordained by the gracious God Himself! Luke records the unusual circumstances-
And so we see God's sovereignty even in the most minute details - not only was John sent from God but He was also named by God!
John Phillips - John the Baptist was both a priest and a Nazarite. There are only three lifelong Nazarites mentioned in the Bible: Samuel, Samson, and John the Baptist. A Nazarite had to keep from touching a dead body and from any contact with the fruit of the vine. He also had to let his hair grow long. Forbidden to touch the dead body of even his nearest and dearest relative, he proclaimed to the world that his affections were on the altar. His love for God eclipsed all lesser loves. Abstaining from wine, he proclaimed to the world that his appetites were on the altar. He kept his body in subjection. Allowing his hair to grow long, he proclaimed to the world that even in his appearance, all was on the alter. This was a high standard of consecration, much more demanding than normal devotion to the things of God. It is no wonder that in fifteen hundred years of continuous Hebrew history we read only of three who were thus set apart for God. One of them, Samson, failed dismally. The other two, Samuel and John the baptist, were Hebrew prophets-Samuel was the first of them and John the last. John was a prophet "and more than a prophet" (Luke 7:26). He was also a priest. A prophet represents God to man; a priest represents man to God. John was a priest and more than a priest-he was a Nazarite priest. A priest suggests professional consecration; a Nazarite suggests personal consecration. John the baptist is injected suddenly into the gospel narrative. John the apostle had been speaking of "life" and "light," two common denominators of a person's belief and behavior. ("Light" has to do with knowing; "life" has to do with showing.) There flashed into the apostle's mind a vision of "a man sent from God," one who on the human level epitomized both light and life. John the baptist lived a life so wholly true to his calling and conviction that he earned the Lord's commendation: "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." He was sent from God to bring to the nation of Israel fresh light on the coming of Christ after the darkness of some four hundred silent years. He cast a floodlight of truth and expectation on the times, backed by the authority of a life beyond reproach. (Exploring the Gospel of John)
Gotquestions' Answer: Although his name implies that he baptized people (which he did), John’s life on earth was more than just baptizing. John’s adult life was characterized by blind (Ed: I suggest it was eyes wide open) devotion and utter surrender to Jesus Christ and His kingdom. John’s voice was a “lone voice in the wilderness” (John 1:23) as he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah to a people who desperately needed a Savior. He was the precursor for the modern day evangelist as he unashamedly shared the good news of Jesus Christ (Ed: How could he have accomplished this task? There has always been but one way - "Holy Spirit Boldness" - cf even the apostle Paul's "prayer request" - Eph 6:18-20, noticing the repeated request for boldness. A good prayer request for ALL God's children! Would you stop and pray it this very moment?). He was a man filled with faith (Ed: And like Stephen, he was filled with the Spirit = controlled by, empowered by the Spirit - Acts 6:3, 5,8 Acts 7:55, Luke 1:15) and a role model to those of us who wish to share our faith with others (Ed: Heb 6:11-12, cf 1Cor 11:1).
Most everyone, believer and non-believer alike, has heard of John the Baptist. He is arguably one of the most significant and well-known figures in the Bible. While John was known as “the Baptist,” he was in fact the first prophet called by God since Malachi some 400 years before his own birth. John’s own coming was foretold over 700 years previously by another prophet. In Isaiah 40:3-5 it states: “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’" This passage illustrates God’s master (Sovereign) plan in action as God selected John to be His special ambassador to proclaim His own coming.
Little is actually known of John, although we do know that John was a Levite, one of the special tribe set aside by God to take care of all of the work associated with the temple (Nu 1:50-53, Ed: In light of this truth it is interesting to compare Jesus' description of Himself as a "Temple" - Jn 2:18-22). John was the son of Zechariah, a temple priest of the lineage of Abijah (Ed: A leading priest in the days of the return from Exile = Neh 12:4, and then a priestly house Neh 12:17 to which Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, belonged Lk 1:5), while John’s mother Elizabeth was from the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:5). John was also related to Jesus as their mothers were cousins (Luke 1:36). John lived a rugged life in the mountainous area of Judea, between the city of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. It is written that he wore clothes made out of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. His diet was a simple one—locusts and wild honey (Mt 3:4). John lived a simple life as he focused on the kingdom work set before him.
John’s ministry grew in popularity, as recounted in Matthew 3:5-6: “People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” We also see that he spoke very boldly to the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, calling them a “brood of vipers” and warning them not to rely on their Jewish lineage for salvation, but to repent and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:7-10). People of that day simply did not address leaders, religious or otherwise, in this manner for fear of punishment. But John’s faith made him fearless in the face of opposition.
While his ministry was gaining strength, John’s message was gaining popularity. In fact, it became so popular that many people may have thought that he was the Messiah. This assuredly was not his intent as he had a clear vision for what he was called to do. John 3:28 tells us, “You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.'” (Ed: cp Jn 1:20) This verse speaks of John cautioning his disciples that what they had seen and heard from him is just the beginning of the miracle that was to come in the form of Jesus Christ. John was merely a messenger sent by God to proclaim the truth. His message was simple and direct: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Mt 3:2). He knew that once Jesus appeared on the scene, John’s work would be all but finished. He willingly gave up the spotlight to Jesus saying, “He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30-note). Perhaps there is no greater example of humility than the one demonstrated by both Jesus and John in Matthew 3:13-15 (Ed: cf Jn 1:27). Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John in the river Jordan.
John rightly recognized that the sinless Son of God needed no baptism of repentance and that he was certainly not worthy to baptize his own Savior. But Jesus answered his concern by requesting baptism “to fulfill all righteousness” meaning that He was identifying Himself with sinners for whom He would ultimately sacrifice Himself, thereby securing all righteousness for them (2 Corinthians 5:21). In humility, John obeyed and consented to baptize Jesus.
John’s ministry, as well as his life, came to an abrupt end at the hand of King Herod. In an act of unspeakable and violent vengeance, Herodias, Herod’s wife and the former wife of Herod’s brother Philip, plotted with her daughter to have John killed. So incensed was Herodias at John for claiming her marriage to Herod to be unlawful that she prompted her daughter to ask for the head of John on a platter as a reward for her pleasing Herod with her dancing. John had previously been arrested by Herod in attempt to silence him, and it was a simple thing to send the executioner to the prison and behead John, which is exactly what happened (Mark 6:17-28). This was a sad and ignoble end to the life of the man about whom Jesus said: “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28, Mt 11:11).
LESSONS FROM THE LIFE
There are several lessons we can learn from the life of John the Baptist.
First, whole-heartedly believing in Jesus Christ is possible. John the Baptist could have believed in and worshipped any number of gods available to him before Jesus arrived on the scene. But at some point in his life John knew that the Messiah was coming. He believed this with his whole heart and spent his days “preparing the way” for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 11:10). But the road was not an easy one to prepare. Daily he faced doubters of various influence and popularity who did not share his enthusiasm for the coming Messiah. Under hard questioning from the Pharisees, John shared his belief: “‘I baptize with water,’ John replied, ‘but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie’" (John 1:26-27). John believed in the Christ and his great faith prepared him for hardships, but it kept him steadfast on his course until the time when he could say as he saw Jesus approach, “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). As believers, we can all have this steadfast faith.
Second, anyone can be a strong and serious witness for Jesus Christ. John’s life is an example to us of the seriousness with which we are to approach the Christian life and our call to ministry, whatever that may be. We pattern our lives after John’s by first examining ourselves to be sure we are truly in the faith (2Cor 13:5). Second, like John, we are to know and believe that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), so we can be fearless in the face of persecution and death (Ed: Beloved, do not attempt to "gut it out" in your own strength! This attitude can ONLY be accomplished supernaturally by the empowering of the indwelling Spirit!). John lived his life to introduce others to Jesus Christ, and knew the importance of repenting of one’s sins in order to live a holy and righteous life. And as a follower of Jesus Christ, he also was unafraid of calling out people such as Herod and the Pharisees for their sinful behavior.
Third, John shows us how to stand firm in our faith no matter what the circumstances. Paul reminded Timothy that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2Ti 3:12). But for many of us who live in freedom, persecution takes on a very mild form. As he lived in an occupied country, John had to be aware that anything contrary to utter devotion to the king or emperor was asking for trouble. Yet his message was unchanging, bold and strong. It was John’s belief, his message, and his continual rebuke of King Herod that landed him in prison. While it is hard to know for sure what John was feeling as he sat in prison, we can be sure that he might have had some doubts about the Lord who tested his faith. In fact, John gets a message out to Jesus asking, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Matthew 11:3). As Christians we will all have our faith put to the test, and we will either falter in our faith or, like John, cling to Christ and stand firm in our faith to the end.
The Missionary Is One Sent Forth = The word missionary is not found in our English Bible. It comes to us from the Latin word mitto—I send and this is closely related to the New Testament apostello—to send. Any reader of the Bible quickly realizes that the words sent and send occupy a prominent place in the Bible, especially in the Gospels. The Greek words apostello, and pempo, both meaning to send, occur in the New Testament 215 time—apostello 135 times, pempo 80 times. The vast majority of them appear in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles—apostello 123 and pempo 60 times.
Both of the Greek words are used of Christ as well as of the apostles. There seems to be some difference in emphasis and depth. Thus, while pempo emphasizes more the act of sending, apostello also involves the idea of authoritative sending with a mission. The latter includes a definite purpose in the sending.
It is significant to note that pempo is never used in relation to God in the Synoptics, nor by Paul, while apostello is not used in relation to the sending of the Holy Spirit. And even in John the two words are not absolute synonyms. A fine distinction prevails throughout the Scriptures.
The common factor in both words is the fact that they point to an authority beyond the sent one. There is an Authority, a Sender, beyond the messenger. The messenger himself is not an authority. He merely represents an authority.
It is readily seen that the word apostle finds its roots in apostello and thus means a person authoritatively sent forth with a message and on a mission.
Christ, the Sent One. Turning back to the record of Scripture, we discover that Christ spoke of Himself on numerous occasions as the Sent One. He walked, worked, and suffered in the deep consciousness of having been sent into the world (comp. esp. John 6—John 8). He was, indeed, an apostle, One sent forth.
His own words reveal clearly that He walked in blessed fellowship with the Father, fully conscious that it was the Father who had sent Him, that the Father’s authority was resting upon Him, and that the Father was sharing in His ministry. There was authorization as well as companionship in the experience of having been sent. This illumined His path and lightened the burdens of the way. In obedience and submission to and in fellowship with the Father who had sent Him He withstood all opposition, pressures, criticism and endured suffering, shame and death, triumphing in it all.
The disciples, the sent ones. As we turn to the disciples, we discover very similar experiences. They, too, were sent ones—messengers, ambassadors and apostles. On several occasions Christ sent them forth into ministries. In fact, He chose them that they might be called apostles, or sent ones (Luke 6:13). Though the discipleship aspect is more dominant in the Gospels, the apostleship consciousness is not totally lacking. Nine times they are spoken of as apostles in the Gospels. In the Acts of the Apostles, the discipleship concept gives way to the apostleship. Thus they, too, walked and worked in the full consciousness of having been sent into the world for a specific purpose and with a definite message.
In the sending forth of the disciples there is, however, one absolute distinction from the sending of our Lord. They are never said to have been sent by the Father. To the contrary, twice it is explicitly stated that they are being sent by Christ (John 17:18; John 20:20). Already, previous to this, Christ had sent them out in His own name (comp. Mt. 10:1ff ; Mk 3:13-19; Mk 6:6-13; Lk 9:1-6;10:1-20). Thus while Christ is the Apostle of the Father, the disciples became apostles of Jesus Christ, and Paul designates himself repeatedly as Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ. Peter does likewise. Christ became their sending authority. As the sending authority, Christ became not only their authorization but also the sharer in their ministry. He is their authority and their companion. The apostles were fully conscious of their source of authority. When Peter was asked by the rulers: By what authority, or by what name, have ye done this? (a miracle), Peter is not slow to inform them that there is only one name (comp. Acts 4:5-12). Christ’s companionship is explicitly stated in His blessed promise in Matthew 28:20b when He says: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (or consummation of the age). The same truth is reiterated in Mark 16:20 where we read: “And they [the apostles] went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” This is also beautifully reflected in the words of Christ in John 20:21. Bishop Westcott, having made a rather detailed and comprehensive study of various words and tenses in the Gospel of John, makes the following remarks: “The general results of the examination of these facts seems to be that in this charge the Lord presents His own mission as the one abiding mission of the Father; this He fulfills through His church. His disciples receive no new commission, but carry out His. (Comp. Matt. 28:20; Heb. 3:1).” Thus the sending agent becomes the closest companion in the ministry. The apostles were not asked to do mission work for Christ but rather with Christ. This is, indeed, true partnership in missions, and Paul could speak with inner satisfaction of being collaborators with God. There is an identification of Christ with His sent ones that sweetens all bitterness and drives away the shadows through His blessed smile. His presence and companionship is their constant experience and abiding heritage. Their great need is to practice constantly the consciousness of His presence.
The missionary, a sent one. The missionary today, too, is a sent one if he is a missionary in the Biblical sense of the word. A missionary is not one who has gone out, but one who has been sent out. It is the sending that makes all the difference. And unless he can walk in the blessed assurance that he has been sent forth, he will be unable to bear the strain and frustrations, the pressures and the disappointments of missionary life. The consciousness, however, of having been sent forth will uphold him in his trials and failures and most certainly lead him to triumph and success (Let the Missionary Be a Missionary - George W. Peters)
NAS translates apostello as: puts(1), send(17), send forth(3), sending(3), sends(1), sent(104), sent… away(1), set(1).